One currently unexplored aspect of the West of England Strategic Partnership’s BRT Project Board – that has devised the plan to destroy the Bristol and Bath Railway Path – is the presence on it of a number of large corporations well-known for their good relations with government and consistent proximity to large public/private deals.
We all already know about First Group, our useless local bus monopoly, that weaseled their way on to the board to hoover-up another monopoly provider deal, but there’s others. Also inexplicably present are the the corporate civil engineering groups Atkins, Halcrow and Steer Davies Gleave.
And a brief look at the Internal Briefing (pdf), produced earlier this year by the BRT Project Board, is very revealing about what their collective priorities are:
The route is planned to use the existing former railway corridor, although retaining a high quality cycle and pedestrian corridor alongside. The route performs well in terms of patronage and deliverability, and will include careful design to ensure that it interacts sensitively with new developments in the Temple Meads and Temple Quay areas.
Yes that’s right, the concerned designers of our new BRT will ensure that it interacts sensitively with the corporate developments around Temple Meads and Temple Quay! They can’t go upsetting fellow big business interests like Temple Quay developers Castlemore can they?
Strangely these caring, sharing corporate interests, working directly alongside Bristol City Council “local experts”, express no such concern for established communities in Bristol that are likely to be wrecked by their route such as Easton and Whitehall.
You could end up thinking it’s because they don’t give a toss.